Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football.
For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis.
These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.
Next in the 2010 NFL Draft re-grade is the NFC North.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: DB Major Wright (75th overall), DE Corey Wootton (109), DB Joshua Moore (141), QB Dan LeFevour (181), OT J’Marcus Webb (218)
Best pick: J’Marcus Webb
Webb would be here even if the Bears had taken him 75th instead of 218th. He made 14 appearances for the Dolphins in 2019 while everyone else in this draft class has been inactive for at least three seasons. The other four players have a combined 73 career starts, the exact same number as Webb.
Worst pick: Dan LeFevour
The Bears waived LeFevour following the 2010 preseason and he was claimed off waivers by the Bengals the next day. LeFevour served as Cincinnati’s third-string quarterback for the 2010 season. Following stints on the Bengals’ and Colts’ practice squads, he was signed by the Jaguars on Nov. 25, 2011. The team released LeFevour on May 7, 2012. He never appeared in an NFL game.
Finding three players that played at least 60 games with a single pick in each of the last five rounds is no small accomplishment. Wright recorded 331 tackles and nine interceptions in his career while Wooten started 15 games for Chicago in 2013. Finding Webb so late in the draft takes the grade from a B+ to an A-.
Picks: DT Ndamukong Suh (2), RB Jahvid Best (30), DB Amari Spievey (66), OT Jason Fox (128), DE Willie Young (213), WR Tim Toone (255)
Best pick: Willie Young
Young played in 98 games during his eight-year career, more than Best, Spievey, Fox and Toone combined. Young signed with the Bears prior to the 2014 season and recorded 10 sacks his first year with the team. He registered another 6.5 his second season in Chicago and another 7.5 the year after that. Young ended his career with 32 sacks and 186 total tackles. He has the 11th-most sacks of any player in the 2010 draft class. Of the 10 players ahead of him, seven were taken in the first two rounds.
Worst pick: Jahvid Best
Two concussions in 2011 — one during the preseason and another in a Week 6 loss to the 49ers — ended Best’s career after two seasons. Best was placed on injured reserve due to post-concussion symptoms and missed the 2012 season undergoing treatment with the goal of returning in 2013. He never got on the field again and Detroit released him on July 17, 2013. Best went on to become the first former NFL player to compete in the Summer Olympics, representing Saint Lucia in 2016.
Suh proved he was worthy of the second overall pick and Best demonstrated how electric he could be before his career was ended prematurely by unfortunate circumstances outside his or the Lions’ control. Still, half of Detroit’s draft class did not play in a regular season contest past 2012. By 2018, only Suh remained. Best and Spievey’s inability to make any kind of long-term impact prevent the grade from going any higher, even with the success of Suh and Young.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: OT Bryan Bulaga (23), DE Mike Neal (56), DB Morgan Burnett (71), TE Andrew Quarless (154), OG Marshall Newhouse (169), RB James Starks (193), DE C.J. Wilson (230)
Best pick: Marshall Newhouse
A former fifth-round pick, Newhouse has been on the field for more than half the snaps in a season with four different teams. Newhouse started 13 games in 2011 and played every snap in every game for the Packers in 2012. His 129 career games played are the most of anyone in Green Bay’s seven-man draft class. In 2019, Newhouse made nine starts and appearared in all but one game for the Patriots.
Worst pick: Mike Neal
Neal registered 19 sacks and 133 tackles in his six seasons yet somehow managed to be arguably the least productive of the Packers’ first six picks. He played in at least 11 games and recorded at least four sacks each of his final four seasons. The numbers are underwhelming for a second-round pick but certainly nothing to scoff at.
Every player in this class appeared in at least 60 games and made more than 10 starts. Together, they have played in 653 games and started 393 times. Bulaga, Burnett and Newhouse have been consistent contributors for a decade. Starks compiled 2,500 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards over his career. The only thing missing is a truly elite player.
Picks: DB Chris Cook (34), RB Toby Gerhart (51), DE Everson Griffen (100), OG Chris DeGeare (161), LB Nate Triplett (167), QB/WR Joe Webb (199), TE Mickey Shuler (214), RB Ryan D’Imperio (237)
Best pick: Everson Griffen
This is as easy as it gets. Griffen has started 59 more games than any other player the Vikings took. He is a four-time Pro Bowler who posted double-digit sacks in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Last season — his 10th in Minnesota — Griffen recorded eight sacks and made the Pro Bowl. His 74.5 career sacks are the 16th-highest total since 2010.
Worst pick: Chris Cook
Cook spent five seasons in the NFL and played in a total of 40 games. He started 29 games in four years with the Vikings, recording 123 tackles. Cook signed a one-year deal with the 49ers in 2014 and appeared in six games. He agreed to another one-year deal with the team in 2015 but was released in early August.
The only players to see the field in 2016 were Griffen and Webb, who has started a total of four games. Gerhart ended his career with less than 2,500 yards of total offense. Half of the draft class played in 12 or fewer games. A certain level of grace has to be given to any team without a first or third-round pick. Still, one impact player from eight picks is always going to be a disappointment.
To view the 2010 draft grades for other divisions, click here.
Photo by Michael Tipton / Flickr